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Effective Feedback Strategies

Identify Patterns of Error

Focus feedback on critical issues, such as argument, organization, and source use.

Foster awareness

You can help students become aware of their most pervasive error patterns by starting with the more important global errors (e.g., plagiarism) and then more local errors (e.g., sentence fragments).

Avoid overwhelming students

Do not try to show all errors or all error types; this will overwhelm both you and the student(s).

The advantage of this strategy is that it focuses the student on specific errors and assigns responsibility for correction to the student (problem solving).

Highlight successes

It is important that when you point out a pattern of error, you note where this item was used correctly.

Rather than making direct correction that takes responsibility out of the students’ hands, teach strategies to clarify expression of ideas.